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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 43: Slade 14
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As spring returned, Slade realized that he had been there six years, and people were starting to notice that he was well preserved. At first, he just smiled and thanked them for being so polite; but he wouldn't be able to deny that everyone else was aging and he wasn't. It was going to become a problem.
He stayed home that year, and the next; the following year he visited each of his three friends. They had known him now for eight years, and it was obvious to them that he was not getting older.
"Yeah, I don't know why that is," he would say. "Maybe I'm part elf. Maybe I got too close to the djinni. I think probably, though, it has something to do with the magic that dropped me in that dungeon in the first place."
Omigger was the most interested. The wizard was the eldest when they met, and was now almost fifty; he had clearly hoped to find some magic that would slow the approach of death, thus far with little luck. He wanted to study Slade, and encouraged him to stay so that he could continue his researches in search of immortality. But Slade said he still had to see Filp, and departed fairly quickly.
Filp was having too much fun with life to worry about aging. Although he was older than Slade appeared, he was still young, and now the father of a young family, a daughter and a son. To him, life was still a long time; it was its own immortality.
Torelle was intrigued by his friend's youthful look, but not concerned by it. He tended to favor the elf theory. Meanwhile his reputation and his children were growing, and he saw his immortality in his legacy, the title, lands, and reputation he would leave to his son. He did not need a secret of youthfulness.
Slade traveled less after that. Every few years he would visit his three friends, and between those visits Filp or Torelle, or sometimes both, would stop to see him. It always surprised him how much they aged, but he never said so, and they never seemed concerned about his youth.
But the reality of it hit him hard one spring when he received not a guest but a messenger delivering an invitation. Mica was to be vested. He had completed his training, and would be knighted in a ceremony this spring. The child was now officially a man.
Slade had been here for twenty-three years.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #35: Quiet on the Novel Front. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: